As an entrepreneur and founder you know the excitement that builds as the Source Idea of your business downloads and starts to take shape in your imagination well before it is made concrete.
I make the assertion that there is a Pattern Integrity to this Source Idea.
To elaborate on what I mean, if you hold a seed in your hand it has within it the Pattern Integrity of the plant that will grow if placed in conducive conditions. A seed that has the pattern Integrity of a Basil plant will not become (the herb) Rosemary, not matter how much you wish it to become Rosemary. It will only become something that is not Basil if you tamper with its DNA.
A baby has within it its own Pattern Integrity. A force of expression that simply cannot be suppressed in entirety. Our role as steward parents is to provide the right conditions for that Pattern Integrity to flourish. It will be flavoured with the culture and beliefs in which it flourishes. Yet it will be present, even if severely dimmed or harshly exaggerated. You know this because you sense your own Pattern Integrity even now as you read.
A business idea lands in the imagination of a Founder/Founders with its Pattern Integrity fully encoded. How we build it, the form it takes, can manifest in many different ways. But the integrity, the deep values, the purpose, the why of the Source Idea, is as precious as that of a child or a seed.
The leader as steward has a role to be the guardian of this Pattern Integrity, against ALL odds.
Ultimately that is their prime task.
If they allow the Pattern Integrity to be violated in any way, from nano violations to macro violations, they will end up with a business that is not aligned with the Source Idea. Similar to genetic engineering on the Basil plant, or the child. Indeed in most cases the business will not survive, or if it does it will be a Frankenbusiness, a soul destructive place where people mark time to exit.
This might be OK for you.
I suggest that if you are really honest with yourself it will not be OK for you as the Founder/Entrepreneur/Chief Steward.
That Source Idea is the heartbeat of the business. It is the heartbeat that synchronises with your own heartbeat. And when you have this coherence of heartbeats you have the potential for a beautiful business that plays with a similar majesty to an orchestra. The swell of coherence becomes a strange attractor in its own right, and people arrive. They want to be a part of the coherence, the synchronisation, the beauty and flow state, a purity expressed through the vales and purpose in action.
It might sound mystical, and while it is, it is also inherently physical. Coherence and magnetism create their own fields, attracting more of the same.
As an Integrity Architect one of my roles is to ensure that the Source Idea and Pattern Integrity is never violated, not even in a nano way. I am often the conscience and the objective witness to potential violations, because violations in our world can be so subtle, wrapped in a package of business-as-usual looks and acts like this that we do not even know we just kissed the devil very lightly on the cheek.
Let me share an example.
An organisation I have some knowledge of has as its Pattern Integrity to build a vibrant innovation/entrepreneurial/tech based community with global connections within a State, specifically within certain regions within that State, with ripple effects going State wide/worldwide. The local community build is to be all-inclusive. Students, schools, science, universities, business and a touch of the arts/creatives. This element of inclusiveness and invitation to participate is part of the Pattern Integrity of the Source Idea.
Their main product is an annual event.
Year one, great success. All-inclusive, doors open to everyone, no one excluded because of the ticket cost.
Year two. The team, bar one of the Founders (and as such the steward of the Pattern Integrity) voted to have the ticket price be reflective of a business model that said we need to charge a fee based on getting a ROI for the cost of the event. Very business-as-usual.
In a conversation with a teacher at a school I heard that this year he will not be taking a bus load of students to the event because the ticket price is so expensive. Last year the students went and loved it.
Violation. Serious violation, seemingly innocuous.
A few weeks ago I was listening to Howard Schultz, Founder and previous CEO of Starbucks. From very early in Starbucks existence the CEO and board decided that every Partner (Starbucks calls all of their employee’s Partners, which speaks volumes about their Pattern Integrity) who works more than 20 hours a week will have FULL health insurance. Nice. Particularly in the U.S.A where health insurance is a make or break.
More recently Howard wanted to enable every Partner who works 20 plus hours a week to get a University degree for Free if they chose. In the United States this is a very big deal.
Any regular business-as-usual company would have said it was impossible. Can’t be done. Too expensive. The Board and Shareholders will never allow it. The business will tank.
But Howard Schultz, compelled by the ‘much-larger-than-him’ Pattern Integrity of Starbucks, said it could be done, it would be done, they just had to figure out how to do it and make it viable.
In the end they partnered with Arizona University, Starbucks paying 60% of the fee, the education being fully online reducing the actual cost significantly, and Arizona University sponsoring 40%. For kids who would never be able to get a University education without being saddled with back breaking debt, this is a gift of monumental proportions.
The precessional effects of this action are multiple. While it is a significant cost to Starbucks, they win exponentially, with loyal-to-the-death Partners, positive PR, a refined senior management recruitment program (recruit from your educated Partners), a culture that doesn’t talk about its values, but acts on them, a place where people who go to work in a typically low paid job, are treated with dignity and respect = better people, better citizens, better service providers, better customer service, happier customers, more business.
Returning to the case study.
- The Founding steward’s role is to be a guardian for the Pattern Integrity. To fight to the end to maintain it, protect it, honour it, bring it more fully into the world. Just as they would if it were their child. No stone unturned, no bridge uncrossed. All in.
- There was a much better question underpinning the discussion around ticket prices. It would have been something like…
“How can we make it possible for as many school kids and students, plus people who simply do not have the money to make it but really want to be there, to gain entry, AND not loose on our business model?” In other words, how can we play an infinite game and have everyone win?
What I know with as much certainly as I know my next breath will happen, is that when we ask a question that is coherent with the Pattern Integrity of our Source Idea, even if the question feels impossible, THERE WILL BE AN ANSWER. And the answer will be a good one. In fact, the answer will be a defining answer for the future of the company.
This is how great companies are made.
Unrelenting commitment to the values, purpose, Pattern Integrity of your business.
These companies then become the ones that we speak about with love and reverence. They are few and far. We yearn for more of them.
And we yearn to become a part of them. Because people want a more beautiful world that our hearts know is possible, and they want to collaborate with each other to build it.
Beautiful business, with Integrity as the operating system, can positively impact the world for at least one billion people within the next ten years.
So, what will it be? Beautiful Business of Frankenbusiness? Please choose for the Pattern Integrity to be the central organising principle of your business.